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Accused found fit to resume murder trial in grisly Chemainus stabbing

Hearing determines the case against the Colin John in Derek Descoteau’s 2016 death will proceed
Colin John at an initial court appearance after his arrest in the Derek Descoteau murder in 2016. (File photo)

The man accused in the 2016 murder of Derek Descoteau in Chemainus has been deemed fit to stand trial.

Colin John faces a second degree murder charge and one count of attempted murder. He appeared in Duncan provincial court over three days this week for the hearing to determine his fitness for trial that actually began in late 2018.

Related story: Trial opens for accused in 2016 Chemainus murder

The prosecution wrapped up its case in August of 2019 before defence layer Scott Sheets lobbied for an assessment of John’s mental fitness. COVID further delayed the process.

It’s been a long ordeal for Descoteau’s family members, who have obviously followed the proceedings very closely and expressed relief after Judge Lisa Warren’s decision Wednesday.

“We will be moving to trial on Nov. 15 for four weeks,” said Brenda Smith, Descoteau’s mother.

Descoteau, 20 at the time, and his girlfriend Janelle Guyatt were in the basement suite of Descoteau’s dad’s house in Chemainus in May of 2016 when a shirtless man loomed over them and started stabbing. Descoteau died from multiple knife wounds and Guyatt survived, but has required several surgeries for nerve damage.

The pain is still fresh for Descoteau’s family, as the case continues. Descoteau’s friends have been a constant source of comfort to the family through constant contact.

Related story: Strong support surrounds Descoteau’s family

Kim Paziuk and Sofia Bakken, representing the Crown, spent Monday’s portion of the hearing laying out what a new trial would look like. Psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Kolchak was on the stand Tuesday, offering his assessment, before Warren rendered her verdict Wednesday.

It’s not known how much of the evidence provided at the previous trial might need to be repeated.

“All of our witnesses have been subpoenaed again, just in case,” noted Smith.

Related story: Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved Chemainus murder

John has been ordered to remain at the Colony Farm Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam until the trial resumes.

Smith is hopeful the next stage of the trial will finally bring the case to a conclusion.

“We just want it to be done so bad, make it through without any more adjournments,” said Smith.

Derek Descoteau was killed in Chemainus in 2016. (File photo)
The Duncan law courts where Colin John’s hearing took place over three days. (File photo)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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